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May 27th, 2020

In The Garden: Monstera Philodendron

by R.S. Walsh

The Monstera Philodendron (Monstera deliciosa) is one of the most popular and iconic of the philodendrons. This vining forest crawler originated in the tropics of Central America, and is used to warm, humid environments making it a perfect plant for Florida’s tropical, temperate climate. This climber will grow up to 70 feet long if left to ramble up a nearby palm or tree. As it clings to the trunk of a tall palm tree, the leaves provide beautiful texture and color making it a great companion to a plain sabal palm for instance.

You may also keep your Monstera at a manageable size by planting it in a container indoors. With the design trends moving towards more indoor plants, the Monstera is a real favorite because of the interesting variations in the leaf patterns. The color and appearance of a Monstera depends on the level of sunlight it receives, even though it grows well in a range of sunlight exposures. In full sun, the Monstera will take on a lighter, brighter green developing some sun spots from consistent exposure. Shady conditions will create a more intense, dark green appearance. Regardless of color, the Monstera will still hold true to its nickname ‘Swiss Cheese’ plant as it is known for the distinct cuts and holes found in its large leaves.

Caring for your Monstera shouldn’t require too much stress. Regular pruning is needed to maintain the Monstera as a groundcover to keep it from crawling up a structure or tree unintentionally. This plant does not prefer overly wet conditions, so regular watering and well-draining, sandy soil is best. Monstera will only tend to produce a flower when left to flourish outdoors. Whether indoors or out, this philodendron is truly an interesting favorite.

This plant column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, Sanibel’s garden center, located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel Island.

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